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Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase [Hardcover]

Louise Walters
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 13.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Feb 2014

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child's mother, it is wrong...

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444777424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444777420
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My debut novel is Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase, published in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton in 2014. It is also published in Norway and will be published in twelve other languages, and in the USA in 2015.

Product Description


A first novel of great charm and assurance, beautifully told and utterly gripping (The Times)

A heart-breaking tale of loss, missed chances and enduring love. (Good Housekeeping)

Totally absorbing . . . Beautifully done and heartbreaking too. (Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky)

[a] charming debut... as appealing on the inside as its enticing jacket. (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A heartbreaking debut novel about family secrets, soulmates and missed opportunities.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase 5 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Roberta works in a book shop which sells both second hand and new books. She loves going through the second hand books for the things people have left in as bookmarks - children's drawings, shopping lists, letters, train tickets etc. She likes to imagine the people they belonged to.

Her father takes her a suitcase which belonged to his mother - now aged over one hundred and in a nursing home. Tucked into one of the books in the suitcase is a letter which will overturn everything Roberta knows about her grandmother.

I enjoyed this book and thought it was well written. I liked the intermingling of the two stories - that of Dorothea trying to make a life for herself during World War II and Roberta in the twenty first century trying to make sense of her own life. The author really brought the characters to life and I thought the love affairs were painted with a delicate hand and not overdone.

If you enjoy books which weave together past and present then try this one - it is subtle and understated and a very satisfying read. I look forward to reading more by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, Realistic and Brilliant 19 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The story is set in two time zones, one being Roberta's which is the present day and Dorothy's which is in the 1930's time period. Both of these women are very unique in their very own ways, Roberta is very independent and knows what she wants yet when she finds letters that belonged to her grandmother, she isn't sure what to believe. This information is new to her but it isn't to her grandmother, Dorothy who lived it, she has kept secrets from her family and now only years later are they unravelling them.

Everyone has their hobbies, Roberta is no different, she collects postcards or letters that date back years after finding them in books or in a suitcase in this case. Having worked in a book store for a while, she is used to finding letters or other written notes that people had written years previously. Though when Roberta father gives her, her grandmothers suitcase, she is in for a even bigger surprise than just a couple of notes, the letter she opens reveals to her that her grandmother did something that she has hidden from everyone, something she is not proud of.

Dorothy is living in the time that surrounded the Second World War, having been married for a couple of years, her married doesn't seem to be working at all anymore. So, she takes to things that she does know, helping two young women who work as land girls with her husband away at war, she is glad of the company. It isn't long before she meets Jan Pietrykowski, he is polish and Dorothy is very taken with him after their first meeting,

Even though Dorothy and Roberta are very different people, they both have their problems. Roberta with her romance relationship which happens to be with a married man, she doesn't where her life is going to go.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story 9 Jan 2014
By Laura Smith VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this book. It's got a great story with lots of details, and it immerses you in the wartime years. Dorothy is a lovely character, as is Roberta, and I like how the story changes between the two of them as we find out more about what happened in the past. It keeps it fresh and interesting.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buried secrets 26 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Roberta is a solitary, rather lonely young woman who works in a (surprisingly successful) independent bookshop. She has a habit of collecting ephemera - photographs, letters, tickets etc - which fall from second-hand books as she catalogues them (snippets of which are included at the beginning of many of the chapters - a nice touch) and this hobby becomes more personal when she is given a collection of books in a battered suitcase which belonged to her 109 year old grandmother Dorothea, who is currently living in a nursing home and suffering from dementia. As she sifts through them Roberta discovers a letter which casts doubt on her understanding of her grandparents' marriage.

There are two timeframes to this story and the second features Dorothea (or plain old Dorothy as she was originally known), who is struggling to make ends meet on a remote wartime farm after her husband Albert deserts her. After witnessing a fatal plane crash she falls in love with the dead pilot's senior officer, a Polish man called Jan, and so begins an intriguing story of thwarted love, dashed hopes, secrets and lies.

The writing in both timeframes is beautifully evocative with a melancholy undertone, particularly in the wartime thread; I really felt as though I was on that bleak Lincolnshire farm with Dorothea and her Land Girls. A thoroughly enjoyable read and a very impressive debut novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtly-handled double-stranded story 14 Aug 2014
I received this as a prize. Read it, loved it and would have been just as delighted had I bought it (it had been on my Amazon wishlist).

Admirably-handled double-stranded tale, with a modern and true-to-life approach to Dorothy's era. I especially liked her self-awareness of how the villagers viewed her; I liked her, as I did her grand-daughter's take on life.
The intricacy/interweaving of the stories was spot-on for holding interest and the ending sufficiently well-disguised to surprise.
I kept returning to re-read the letter to try to interpret it - excellent move having it at the beginning.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story loved the back and forth storytelling.
Published 1 day ago by Fraoch
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great book.
Published 1 day ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful book, brilliantly written!
Published 3 days ago by mrs brenda benson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Beautiful...
First things first, I had to read this story because it’s SET IN A BOOKSHOP. The Old and New is my dream place, I only wish such a place really existed because I would find myself... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Bookaholic Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Excellent book, keeps you gripped in from start to finish, highly recommended.
Published 19 days ago by Pauline Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Very topical at the moment with the focus on the mother and baby homes. very enjoyable read. Would recommend it. All tied up just at the end.
Published 29 days ago by Sandra Parker
3.0 out of 5 stars Contrived plot but worth a quick read.
Creaky plot that has the kernel of a tense human predicament in it but it is clumsily handled. The writing descends into Mills And Boon metaphors at times and fails to create a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by susan anne wood
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Good Read. Writing style starts off stronger than it finishes.
Published 1 month ago by Fiona
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
Most enjoyable read and look forward to hearing more from this author.
Published 1 month ago by Rose Daly
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Lovely read - tinged with sadness once started hard to put down. Would recommend as not typical predictable love story.
Published 1 month ago by Loobie65
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